Black Pepper Baby Backs with Whiskey Vanilla Glaze Recipe

Enjoy a sweet and smoky rib this summer, using the always-enticing baby back to create an unforgettable grilled comfort food.

| May/June 2019

 baby-back-ribs
Photo by Getty Images/mphillips007.

If ribs epitomize barbecue, the baby back epitomizes ribs. Cut from high on the hog, next to the backbone, baby backs have tender meat (more so than spareribs), abundant fat, and a convenient shape and size that makes one rack perfect for feeding one or two people. But don’t ribs require low and slow smoking for the better part of a day? Well, that’s one way to prepare them, but ribs can also be grilled using the indirect method — in particular, a technique I call smoke-roasting.

Slow-smoked ribs are all about tenderness; smoke-roasted ribs retain some of the meaty chew that makes pork chops or loins so satisfying to bite into. You’ll still get plenty of smoke flavor, thanks to adding hardwood chunks or chips to the fire. The following rib recipe keeps the seasonings simple: pepper, paprika, salt, brown sugar, and celery seed. The emphasis is on the pork. And because we Americans like our ribs sweet, I’ve added a whiskey brown-sugar glaze with an unexpected note: the scent of vanilla extract.

Yield: 4 to 8 servings.



Method: Smoke-roasting (indirect grilling).

Prep time: 20 minutes.



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